Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The building crane is once again our state bird

Not sure what to think of this:  It was announced this week that Toyota would be moving all it's US divisions....sales, marketing, engineering, and my neighborhood here in the Dallas area.  They will be building a 70 acre office campus on Headquarters Drive in Plano, just down the street from K's company headquarters.  Four thousand jobs will be moving here.

This on top of six thousand jobs State Farm Insurance is bringing to their new 1.5M sq ft towers now under construction.  There are also a dozen or more 10 story +/- office towers under construction for smaller clients, too.

They say they're coming here because of our excellent "quality of life" (true) and relatively low cost of living (also true), affordable housing, etc.  But as I see it they could quickly turn all those categories around for the worst.  

Our housing costs have gone up 10% in the past 12 months.  The next 12 months could make that look tame.  If these huge relocations were spread out over time they could all be easily absorbed, but all at once, I'm afraid they might overwhelm us.

Your sense of civic pride gets all "chest poundie", but your brain says proceed with caution.  Oh well, I guess it's a problem many parts of the country would like to have.


This, however, I know exactly what to think of:

Two Giant Banks, Seen as Immune, Become Targets


'Bout time:   It seems the Feds are finally getting serious about slapping the big banks down after letting them run roughshod over us for a decade. 


What the country's best dressed bankers will soon be wearing?

Some have been laundering money for Iran and others, while others have been setting up tax dodges for wealthy Americans looking to skip out on their taxes.  And many more are still hiding under their desks, waiting to see how long they'll be locked up*.


Yes!  The Feds are actually going after them on criminal charges, and not for just some hand-slap paltry fines.  Good!


The banks that exist today are NOT like the banks that worked so well for so long and made America great.  Maybe....just maybe they're about to learn they're not "too big to jail".  Now if we could just break them up into parts not "too big to fail".


Without the taxpayers safety net (read: blank check) maybe they'll learn to make prudent loans to prudent borrowers again.




* I doubt anyone will personally be put behind bars. Darn! 



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Throwing red meat to the lions

I watched an interesting TV show last night about the origins of the Nazi party in the immediate post WWI Germany.  (Yes, I'm a history nerd.)  Stay with me here....this is leading to a modern corollary.  

It told the familiar story of a few malcontents who met regularly in dark Munich beer halls, how Hitler met Goering and the original party core was formed, etc.


 Propaganda Minister Goebbels wrote the book on print and electronic thought manipulation.

But then it told of how things were moving in slow motion until they bought a small Munich newspaper, the Das Groobenshinerbocklageramberale (not sure about the spelling).  That was their original propaganda mouthpiece, and that's when their membership took off. 

They filled its pages with slanted news, sometimes factual, sometimes made up, to whip their fellow malcontents into a frenzy.  And they soon found radio had an even wider audience.

The Fox News of the 1930's?

That's not likely to ever happen again.  Today we're much more sophisticated.  Or are we?  Ever watch Fox News?  In a headlong race to the bottom, they're in first place by a wide margin.  They're not even subtle about it.  

They're a mouthpiece for the ultra-conservative right....the Tea Partyers, and those who are (or at least think they are) in a privileged position.  Some of their "contributors" are actually funny they're so absurd.  Fox News today is the ultra-right wing's Das Groobenshinerbocklageramberale.

In fairness, the ultra-left has their mouthpiece, too....MSNBC.  The only difference is, nobody watches it.  They once invented their own propaganda radio network (Air America) and it flopped miserably, too.  I guess they haven't read that book by Goebbels, Propaganda, Lies, and Just Plain Bullshit.  Fox News obviously has, and has even added ts own prologue.

The right says the New York Times is a liberal mouthpiece, but as long as you stay off their editorial pages, I don't see it.  It's pretty much just who, when, where, why, and how plain vanilla news.  I had a good chuckle recently when my pseudo-Tea Party brother showed me a "conservative" article in the Dallas Morning News, then started lambasting the "liberal NYT".  

Only then did I show him the by-line of the article's author at the end of the Dallas News was a NYT journalist.  They just copy and pasted his story.  Haha!

Anyone who quotes from either Fox or MSNBC as their source loses huge credibility with me.  People today only want to hear that which reinforces what they already believe.

We need to learn to read more widely and think for ourselves again.  We've become very gullible people.  What's that old saying about history repeating itself?


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Grandpa's babysitting adventure

A few days ago daughter Erica called asking for my help.  She & hubby had to go to a funeral on Saturday and she needed someone to babysit 2-year old Blakely and 4-year old Parker.  Now understand, I'm not the first person any of my daughters ever calls to babysit.  In fact, I'm dead last on the list, and there's a reason for that:  I'm worthless.

I don't know what to do with kids.  They get near me and just sense fear, and I know it, which just heightens the fear in me more.  Yes, I helped raise 3 girls, but that was many moons ago.  I've rocked 'em and changed diapers, but "mom" was always not far away.  When you babysit you don't call 911, you ARE 911.

But of course I was ready to help and I showed up Saturday morning at 10 as requested.  My cute grandkids were waiting for me with smiling faces.  Erica gave me my instructions....snack at 10:30....lunch at 12....a wholesome movie was loaded into the machine what plays wholesome movies....they probably wouldn't take naps.  Bye!

All went well at first.  We were feeling each other out, trying to figure out what to expect from the other.  At 10:30 I asked Blakely, "You wanna snack?"

*She nodded yes*

ME:  "Parker, you wanna snack, too?"

PARKER:  "Yes.  I want carrots."

ME:  *gag*  "Umm....that's OK buddy.  I can find you something better than that."

PARKER:  "No, that's what I want", and he got them himself.

ME:  "So what would you like, Blakely?"

BLAKELY:  "Tdgleoyd"

ME:  "What?"

BLAKELY:  "Tdgleoyd"

ME:  "I don't know what that means.  Parker....what does that mean?"

PARKER:  "She wants yogurt."

She likes yogurt.

For the next hour or so we played catch with a soft baseball (inside) and we put diapers on dolls and strapped them into little strollers.  Over and over.

At noon I started fixing lunch.  The menu called for something even grandpa's can cook:  corny dogs.

Damn, can these kids put away groceries!  They both ate two corny dogs EACH, washed down by a bottle of kids gatoraid (?).

That's when it hit the fan.  As I was cleaning Blakely's hands and face after lunch I noticed something didn't smell right.  In fact it smelled pretty rank.  A flashback from 30 years ago told me exactly what it was.

I learned that these days kids don't just go from diapers straight to pants.  There is an in-between thing called "pull-ups".  They're like pants that pull up and down, but they have a diaper-like lining inside.  No prob.  I've got this.

Then I thought, " do you get the "pull ups" down when they're full know?"  Oh well, you do what you gotta do.  I took a deep breath and went for it.

There's no nice way to say this:  By the time I got that damn diaper off she was covered in shit from her waist to the tip of her toes....and it was on the little table she was lying on also.  And on ME, too!

*O God O God O God.  Please give me strength....*

Located next to the crime scene was a box of baby butt wipes.  These are pre-moistened towelettes that pull out of a box one at a time so you can wipe off the baby's bottom.  They come in boxes of 64.  I'm here to tell you, some times 64 just aren't enough.

I finally got the poor child cleaned up and back to a state of normalcy, got her re-"pull-uped", and sent her off to play while I cleaned myself up.  That's when Parker popped into the bathroom with her right beside him to tell me Blakely's "pull-up" was on backwards.  *head bang, head bang*

Then Parker announced he was hungry.

PARKER:  "Can I have some fa-root?"

ME:  "Some what?"

PARKER:  "Fa-root."

ME:  "What's fa-root?  Show me."

It was a little container of cut-up cantaloupe and honeydew.  "Fruit."  DUH!  He slugged it all down before I could even get him a little plate and a fork.

Then it was back to baseball and dolls in strollers.  Parker wanted to play outside, but my hay fever was in full meltdown mode.  But we went out for a while anyway and the kids had fun.

When Erica returned about two I gave her a rundown on the day and just casually asked, "How do you get those pull-ups down when they're full without making a giant mess?"

She said, "Oh, there are little tabs on the side you pull and it just opens right up."

I swear I never saw any little tabs.  

They're awesome kids!  :)


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Discount Society

We've become a discount society. In fairness, most of the rest of the world is right on our heals, but I think this is one area where we really are still Number 1.

I doubt Walmart started it, but they certainly epitomize it today.  When did this happen?  I can remember when I was a kid we weren't so concerned about beating the other guy down into an "I win, you lose" position.  We did expect to negotiate on the price of a car, but most everything else was priced fairly straight forward.

We bought most of our clothes at the local "haberdasher" (except we didn't call it that).  You wanted a shirt or a pair of pants, you went to Ken's Mans Shop.  An appliance, Hollinshead's.  Hardware....Plaza's.  Groceries....Wyatt's.  Our pharmacy was Payne's.  They posted an honest price right up front and we paid it.  We knew each other, we were neighbors (literally), and we all did pretty well.  "Amazon" was still just a river in Brazil.

Those days are gone.  Today we buy our clothes at mega-conglomerate superstores (Macy's), appliances come from one or the other big box home stores as does our hardware, our pharmacy is more likely to be a huge national chain (Walgreens, CVS), and our groceries come from Kroger, Safeway, or increasingly, Walmart.  Even our shoes come from Discount Shoe Warehouse, and our tires from Discount Tire.  They even put "discount" right up front in their name! 

To make this theme work, the first discounters, among other moves, demanded employees work for much less than they had before.  This meant the business could cut their price, gain market share, yet still make the same profit (maybe more) for their owners.  But they were counting on everyone else still having plenty of disposable income to buy whatever they were selling.

Oops.  That's where it all hit the fan.  It wasn't long before virtually every business became "discount" oriented.  It became an all out war.  Perpetual "sales" became the norm.  Manufacturers were sucked in to the price cut war, too.  Wage and benefit concessions, or at least curbs on raises, were demanded from all.   If they weren't forthcoming, the business relocated to a new low wage location, often overseas. 

At first we loved it. We could buy cool stuff for less than ever.  WooHoo!  But now we've learned the meaning of an increasingly popular term, "unintended consequences".  Now we HAVE to shop at discount stores because that's all we can afford. 

This is the age of Bigger Is Better.  All the small entrepreneurs I know are just trying to build their businesses up to the point they can sell out.  If they get too successful and attract the attention of the Big Boys, they get promptly squashed.

The days of each generation having it better than the previous one are over.  At least that's what the 20-somethings living with their parents while they try to pay off their mountain of college loan debt tell me.  

I have no answers as to how we can make things better.  I doubt there IS a way we can make things better.  The genie is NOT going back in the bottle.

The Discount Society has morphed into today's "Settle Society", as in, "I guess I'll have to settle for that".

The takeaway lesson:  We really do need to be careful what we wish for.  Often times things don't work out as planned.

Hey, it's just an observation.  Don't shoot the messenger.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

REAL women have 45's

Adds a whole new meaning to the term "Pistol Packin' Mama":

Tennessee teen arrested with loaded gun stashed in her vagina


KINGSPORT, Tenn., April 23 (UPI) -- A Tennessee teen who was arrested for driving with a suspended license is now facing felony charges after officers from the Kingsport Police Department discovered something on her person during processing -- actually in her person. 

While Dallas Archer was being booked, the Kingsport Times-News reported that a female officer detected an "unknown item in (Archer's) crotch."

As it turns out, the 19-year-old had a stolen -- and loaded -- gun stashed in her vagina.  According to the report, a jailer and the female officer “recovered a North American Arms 22 LR revolver (loaded) which Dallas had concealed in her vagina."

In addition to the original charge, Archer was charged with gun possession and introducing contraband into a penal facility.

The gun was stolen from 70-year-old John Souther during a 2013 auto burglary. Souther told the Smoking Gun he would be happy to have “the little fellow” back after giving it “a bath in bleach.”

*Aaaand cue the banjo music*


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

This is NOT a "feel good" post

I just read in the news that Canada now has a more affluent middle class than the United States.  So do several other countries.

On the ever-popular topic of health care, the United States ranked 40th in the world on accessibility of quality health care, behind #1 France, as well as Singapore, Portugal, and Chile, among others.

We've been reading for years about the sad state of our educational system here in the US.  Finland ranks first in the world followed by others like South Korea, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Slovenia.

Our economy statistically is bouncing back from recession at a world-leading pace, but those jobs are by-and-large not the high paying jobs we need.

Now many are questioning the wisdom of borrowing heavily for a college education.  They say the debt students are straddled with when they graduate is way out of line with the modest-paying jobs they're likely to get.  They'll be in debt forever.

Many of our cities are decaying, our roads and bridges are in sad shape, and we're afraid to smile at anyone for fear we'll be called in for "sensitivity training."  Political correctness rules.  

When something goes wrong, it's always that elusive "someone else's" fault, never our own.  Lie, cheat or steal if you have to,  just "show me the money".

We universally think we're the best at everything, when we are increasingly just average at everything....nothing more. 

This is not meant to be a "beat up on the US" post.  Quite the opposite; this is meant to be a "WAKE UP AMERICA" post. 

IMO, and I think my position is probably now a majority opinion, our system is simply broken.  Class warfare is raging.  "I've got mine.  You go get your own".  Tea Party members don't play well with others, nor do their extreme liberal counterparts.  We are our own worst enemies.

We MUST break this.  Our political system is a joke.  The wrong people / special interests get breaks at the expense of the rest of us, which ultimately weakens us all. 

Yet we still strut around yelling "WE'RE NUMBER 1".  We're talking the talk, but we're sure not walking the walk.  How long do you have to be in denial before you hit bottom?

There's nothing we can't do, but a lot of us are going to have to change the way we think before that will happen.

Does anyone give a shit anymore?

Happy hump day.  :)


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dear gawd....say it ain't so!

Now this is just disgusting.  If I was an orange or a cherry I'd be insulted.  I'm totally grossed out.  

I mean, carrots are horse food.  

Tomatoes go on hamburgers.  And pizza.  Neither belong in ice cream.  Ewwwwww!


So how are we supposed to start a revolution if they have all the bullets?

That's what all the conspiracy theorists were asking when they found out the Department of Homeland Security had bought 1.6 BILLION rounds of ammunition.  They claim that it's the gubments way of controlling guns since they can't do it via congressional action....they're just buying up all the ammo.

And now this:  The Postal Service, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are buying up large amounts of ammunition, too.

All four have their own police force, and their own SWAT teams!  (I have visions of Police Academy.)

OK, I can see the postal inspectors needing all that.  There are all manner of vicious criminals sending illegal junk mail who need to be whacked.  I get it.

The Agriculture Department?   I'll buy that, too.  Someone needs to slap down those evil vegetable growers, and those Haagan Dasz people in Japan should they decide to bring that veggie ice cream crap to 'Merica.

But the Social Security folks?  Do they get in shoot-outs and high speed chases on gubment Segways with the gray hairs on their walkers?  Really?

And NOAA....the folks who Give Us This Day Our Daily Forecast?  So they're no longer satisfied with just telling us about the summer heat?  Now they want to pack it, too?

Who'd a thunk it?  ;)


Monday, April 21, 2014

"Make hay while the sun shines"

Have you ever heard that saying?  I'm guessing it goes back to our rural roots, meaning work, work, work while it's still daylight.  In the northern hemisphere at least, summer is the main growing season, and summer has the most hours of daylight.  It isn't a season to be's a season to work.

I don't mind working, don't get me wrong.  No work, no eat.  But Jeez....I look out my window at  6:30 in the morning and it's already light outside.  I walk the dog at 8:30 at night and it's still light outside.  I feel guilty for NOT working "while the sun shines".

I'm probably one of the few people who enjoys the night time.  Specifically I like the evening hours.  I think of it as MY time.  The work day is's time to wind down....but it isn't time to sleep either.  

I'll sometimes talk on the phone with one or another of my daughters around 8pm....they all have small children.... and you can hear the relief in their voices.  Their outside work is done, their chirren have all been fed and watered, bathed, and are off to bed.  Now it's their time to relax.

Maybe it's my low thyroid talking, but sometimes I enjoy just vegetating.  I enjoy sitting on my balcony watching the sunset.  Maybe enjoying an adult beverage, or maybe checking in on my long distance social media friends.

I guess I'm all contemplative this morning because I had things to do today, things that required that I get up and get out into traffic and the rat race early.

I'm sure when I was a kid I asked "Are we there yet?" like all kids are wont to do.

Now that I'm an adult all I want to know is, "Is it evening yet?"


Friday, April 18, 2014

The plot thickens... *cue the scary music*

I read a news story online this morning that began with the headline, "Treatment Cost Could Influence Doctors Advice To Patients".  It seems that "influential medical groups....are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care."  

It's a slippery slope, to say the least.

This is the ammunition the "single payer" medical care advocates have been waiting for.  They have been pointing out with limited success that the best medical care is reserved for the wealthy, or at least the more well-to-do, while the rest of us have to make-do with something less.

It's a practice that has apparently been quietly acknowledged within the medical community for some time, but it hasn't become well known to the general population....yet.  I think it just stepped into the spotlight.

"Single payer" health care is a system in which the government, rather than private insurers, pay for all health care costs.  It's what they have in the UK, Canada, Australia, and many other, mainly European countries with a hefty "social safety net", supported by high taxes.

Proponents say it is the fairest way to see to it that everyone, regardless of their economic status, can get good quality health care.  Health care is a "right" we should all have equal access to, they say.  Detractors call it "socialized medicine", the key word being "socialized"....think "socialist".  *circle the wagons!*

On the one hand, the thought of our government administering anything sends cold shivers up my spine.  I can't imagine a more worthless work force than that mob of "civil servants" in Washington today pulling in bloated government paychecks. 

But on the other hand, I have friends in the UK and Canada and Australia and elsewhere who report that, all-in-all, the single payer model works well.  Wait times for elective procedures are often very long, but when they finally happen they won't send the patient straight to bankruptcy.

Not surprisingly my doctor, with whom I've had long talks with about this, and I would imagine my SIL "Doc" Chris, the insurers, etc. are scared to death of it.  But to an economically stagnant middle class it probably looks pretty good.

I think in the future, probably sooner rather than later, this will become a top burner political issue.  And it's gonna be a nasty one.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Simple" is a relative term.

Recently my everyday watch broke.  More specifically the band broke, which in my mind justified buying a new watch.  Honestly, it was a "want" more than a "need".  So I went online and found good reviews and a good price on a Casio G Shock.  

I ordered one that was inexpensive, simple, analog, without an altimeter, barometer, heart rate/cholesterol/bone density monitor, and without the ever-popular transmission diagnostic repair capability.  Simple.  Like me.

What got rave reviews was the fact that it was solar more battery replacement....and "atomic accurate" (?).  It seems there's some facility in Colorado that regularly broadcasts the exact time to the nanosecond, and this watch can pick up that signal and correct itself as needed.  

It will automatically adjust for Daylight Savings Time, short months, etc.  All I have to do is strap it on and wear it till I die.  No maintenance, ever!  Yep, that's the watch for me.

Not so fast, Goober.  First you have to choose the time zone you're in.  "Push button A, little window B will blink, then you scroll through until you find your zone.  Push C, and you're set."

Umm....little problem.  Another tiny window shows the digital time (hour, minute, day, date) for my selected zone, BUT THE HANDS SHOW THE TIME FOR A ZONE FARTHER EAST.  Lemme check that book again:


The instruction "manual" is about the size of a book of stamps, but 200 pages thick.  (OK, 100 of them are in Spanish.)  And the print requires one of those little magnifiers jewelers strap to their glasses so they can see the tiny little letters.

This thing is written in a language only a super-geek could think up.  I was hopelessly lost right after it said, "Thank you for buying a Casio G Shock".  I solicited K, my in-house techie, to try and make some sense of it. about 2 minutes she was cursing like the sailor she once was.

Time to turn to the World Wide Web.  All I got was an explanation by the same guy (I think) that wrote the #$^& manual to begin with.  "SUP, dude?"

I set the hands to show Dallas time.  Screw it!  I'm just gonna have to accept the discrepancy between what the hands say and what the digital thingy says.  

But if you ever see me walking around the streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia and want to know what time it is, I have this little window on my watch that can tell you within a nanosecond.  Just ask.  :)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kinda puts my "Most Wonderful Person That Ever Lived" title to shame

I love those little internet news fluff pieces they post that tell us of the "10 most..." this-or-that things we should (or shouldn't) be doing.  A recent favorite was "Four places you should NEVER use your ATM card".

Their advice:  Don't use your ATM card to make any online purchases, to do any retail shopping, at gas stations, or at restaurants. what does that leave?  Are ATM cards only safe for use as door lock picks in case you lose your keys?

It sort of reminds me of some of those fractured Chinese instruction translations.  One of my favorites was on the box of Christmas lights that said, "WARNING!  Use only indoors or outdoors".  I would have bought a couple of boxes, but all I had on me was my ATM card, so....

Speaking of the Chinese....this guy must have the most audacious Public Relations guy EVER!....

Ha!  Top THAT Dos Equis guy!

(And all this time I thought Al Gore was the "Foremost Environmental Preservation Demolition Expert".  I stand corrected.)

Happy Hump Day  :)


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Me and Big Al....I didn't see THAT coming!

I've never been a big Al Franken fan.  I love Saturday Night Live, but I never much enjoyed the skits he was in when he was a SNL regular/writer.  

Then he went on to become part of the ill-fated Air America liberal radio network, which cemented him in my mind as a far-out left winger.  And anyone who knows me knows I don't like far-out ANY wingers.

Since 2009 he's been SENATOR Al Franken of Minnesnowta.

Imagine my shock when I learned that he and I agree on something.  On the Senate Judiciary Committee he's become their main anti-trust advocate.  Right now he's all hot and bothered by the proposed $45B buyout of Time Warner Cable by Comcast.  Sic 'em Big Al!

The business interests in our country have for years been obsessed with mergers.  Through their eyes it's a way to eliminate competition, become more efficient (fewer marketing departments, fewer accounting departments, etc), and MAKE MORE MONEY.  Never mind those who will lose their jobs, or the consumers who will have less choices and have to pay more.

Combined, the new Comcast would be a cable TV and internet access behemoth.  (They already own NBC and all their subsidiaries, and Universal Studios.)  For consumers in many areas a merger would leave them no choice but to sign up with Comcast.

See where this is going?  Look at the banks:  Today just six mega-banks control the majority of the US banking industry.  Outraged by all their fees, all the ways they get into your pocket, all while producing those cute little "We're looking out for you" commercials?  *gag!*

And look at the airline industry:  Delta and Northwest are now one, United and Continental are now one, Southwest and Air Tran are now one, America West and US Air are now one, and now they've merged with American to become the biggest airline in the world.  Fees for bags?  Pay extra for a Coke?  Are in-flight pay toilets next?  Good for their bottom line for sure, but not for yours!

How come when the conservatives are making a push for de-regulation (which I more often than not agree with) they tout the increased competition it will bring to the marketplace (yea!), but when their corporate campaign contributor masters want to eliminate competition via mergers, they just obediently fall into line and vote "AYE"?   

And we just let it happen, time after time.  Do we consumers get some perverse satisfaction in getting screwed?

I believe the people should control industry.  We should dictate what products and services we want, and industry should compete to give it to us.  But these days more and more industries are dictating to us what we can have, and our job is to just stand there and open our wallets.

It seems we've long forgotten the legacy of "The Great Trust Buster", Teddy Roosevelt. *sigh*


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Art shows and food trucks....Life Is Good!

My second favorite time of the year after Autumn (football season, cooler weather) is this too-brief anomaly known as "Spring".  It's that tiny little gap between blah winter and hotter 'n hell summer when all the artsy types bring their cool stuff out to art shows for the rest of us to admire (and hopefully buy).  

Last weekend we found a new show, this one in Deep Ellum. 

 This is a seedy area of Dallas just east of downtown that has become a magnet for all the bohemian types in town. 

Lots of bars....

 ....and tattoo parlors and little hole-in-the-wall clubs buried deep in the alleys

....and some really talented artists.

Down a six-block stretch they set up their stalls, and young and old alike showed up to admire their talents.  The people-watching was phenomenal.  Wanna know where all the old hippies went?  I found 'em.  :)

This weeks art show couldn't have been any more opposite....suffice it to say the Main Street Arts Festival in downtown Foat Wuth was classy with a capital K.

 It was a judged show, meaning only the best of the best (as chosen by judges) were invited to participate.

This was apparently judged tops in the "carved horns and old bottle caps" category.  (Hey, it's Fort Worth.  Cowboy hats and boots are still considered de rigueur.)

I must hand it to our cousins to the west....they have fixed up their downtown and made it a true fun destination with....

 Little urban oasis scattered around  

The Bass Performance Center

Impromptu "guy juggling fire while riding unicycle" venue

Quiet little sidewalk bistros

And they're apparently much more open minded than I would have thought, too, as evidenced by this topiary  commemorating....umm....mans' desire to do unnatural things to animals?

  I was even inspired to try my hand at creative photography.  *Look ma....I'm an artiste!*

The one piece of art that impressed me the most was this "kinetic sculpture" by Jeffrey Zachmann.  To truly appreciate it you have to see all the moving pieces working together.  Just click on any one of the pieces shown on his website here and you'll see for yourself how hypnotizing they can be.


After all that we went back towards home, stopping in at the Frisco Food Truck Expo (or whatever they called it).

I almost went Italian, but passed because I was sorta scared of where it might be in my digestive system when it exploded.

Instead I had a coupla sliders from Easy Slider.  They were awesome!  Angus beef, grilled jalapenos and onions, barbecue sauce and....oh yeah....BACON!

Apparently the Dallas Cowboys souvenir shop on wheels sold out of Jerry Jones Voodoo dolls early as I didn't see even one patron buy anything the whole time we were there.  *snicker*

That was our weekend(s).  Hope you had a good one, too.   :)